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Christmas House Pics + Rambling

This year, I surprised myself by getting almost all of my Christmas decorations up before December 1. That has to be some kind of record for me. Not actually posting about it until the week of Christmas? Yeah, that’s more like it.

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For the past two years, I really feel like we’ve nailed this whole celebrating Christmas thing (in its most frivolous form, anyway). We’ve started early and taken our time, listening to oodles of carols, making cookies at least once a week, decorating gingerbread houses with friends, trolling the local neighborhoods for the best lights with hot chocolate in hand, even getting our craft on (still have a little PTSD after making 9 {!!!} handmade dolls last year).

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But this year has been a whirlwind. And I can’t even pinpoint why. Truly. I keep looking back over the last 3 weeks trying to locate the source of the time-warp it feels like we’ve all fallen into…without any success. We’ve done a lot of the things that I mentioned, but it still doesn’t feel like we should be anywhere close to Christmas day.

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Of course I know (and fully endorse) that Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with how much sugar you consume or how many times you watch It’s a Wonderful Life (we haven’t managed it yet this year). But I still love the slower pace the season seems to bring (especially considering that we don’t attend many parties or brave the shopping crowds practically ever; oh, how I love thee, Amazon Prime).

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And so, I find myself clinging to every last moment of this week, cherishing each moment of family togetherness (I’m currently sitting on the couch, weathering #babynumber7′s knees and elbows to the ribs as I watch Evy, Nola, and Theo wallow all over Shaun on the other couch and feeling very contented).

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I’m not even that desperate yet for this baby to come out.

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{Please tell me that you are shaking your head at the travesty that is my smudgy mirror. I snapped these shots with the last remnants of light on an already cloudy day and decided I didn’t have time to spare for cleaning it first; I would love to say it’s clean now, but…it’s not}

Which…is interesting because, two years ago, when I was pregnant with Theo, I had to force myself to strike a balance between enjoying the moment and wishing they would all just speed along a little more so I could meet my baby boy (and, let’s be real, not be pregnant anymore).

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Maybe it’s just that he was due two weeks earlier, and I was already “overdue” on December 20th (by two days), instead of “only” 38 weeks, but I just haven’t been as worried about when this little guy will show up.

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Partly, that’s due (hmmm…bad choice of words) to the fact that I’ve had considerably fewer Braxton Hicks “scares” this time around. If I remember correctly (no guarantees of that), I’d already had 3 rounds of, “Holy cow, this kid is coming. What the what??!” plus almost constant contracting that I just ignored as a general bad habit of my over-active (teasingly so) uterus by this point with Theo.

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This time, I’ve only had one incident of: “Um…what is going on?” at 36ish weeks, while Shaun and I were enjoying a fancy 7 course dinner we got to attend because Paint and Prose sponsored the paper goods for the event (that was fun and yummy). And I definitely wasn’t ready for him to make his entrance before the two-toned chocolate mousse came (not to mention more serious concerns about having a baby so early), so I was happy when that round of weird contractions quit after an hour and 1/2.

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ANYhoo, suffice it to say that, this time, I’ll be happy to enjoy Christmas day with a big ol’ belly to rest my plate of pie on. Once New Year’s rolls around, though…I bet you’ll hear me singing a different tune. Strangely, the chiller I feel about this kid coming in his own time, the more I almost *worry* that he’ll show up early and catch me unawares. Because my birth kit’s not ordered yet, and I have no clue where the bassinet is.

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Obviously, not THAT worried.

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{Kind of in love with my rosemary Christmas mini tree with sparkly lights + a pretty gold pot from ProFlowers; it makes the whole kitchen smell delicious}

In any case, regardless of when this little dude decides to make his entrance, I’m grateful for this last week of Advent to focus on the wonder of Christ’s birth, to read more books with the twins, to enjoy more snuggles with Theo (we have a joke that whoever gets the privilege of receiving a Theo snuggle–because he is just cuddliest little bundle of chubby, firm little toddler limbs and soft skin–is “winning”), and to finally get a craft or two made with the big kids.

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I think we may attempt snow globes as gifts for the cousins.

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{The stockings were hung from the stair rail with, um, thumb tacks; there’s a reason they don’t write Christmas poems about houses like ours}

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{See? The light was officially GONE!}

I’ll let you know how that goes. I expect there might be a glitter explosion and a hot glue burn or three, but at least we can say that we tried.

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{Nothing says Christmas like a giant cow skull festooned with fake poinsettias and ornaments}

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{A “toolbox” full of ornaments for the breakfast nook, and…done!}

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{Because I know you were just dying for a collage recap}

So, what about you guys? Anything you’re trying to squeeze in before Sunday? Did this month fly by for you too?

If I’m not back before Sunday, here’s wishing you a week full of peace, joy, and the love of Jesus, the Savior of the world!

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My Best New House Scores

Just like the last time we built, Shaun’s and my roles are pretty clearly split between a) designer (me), and b) builder (him). Well, I should clarify that he plays a HUGE role in the designing of the actual house, since we design our own blueprints from scratch, but when it comes to finishes, lights, flooring, etc., it’s mostly me. He actually has a great design eye, and I definitely consult his opinion on most decisions, but he also gives me mostly free rein because he knows that I’ll a) research the tar out of every decision and b) find the absolute best deal available. It’s like a treasure hunt for me, and, while it can get tedious, the satisfaction I get from knowing that I made a decision that we’ll all enjoy (hopefully) and saved our family oodles of money is pretty rewarding.

9 years ago, before Pinterest and the true rise of the online response to the DIY movement, almost all of my research and deal-finding involved a whole lot of hoofing it–to Lowe’s, Bruce’s Bargain Barn (yes, an actual place…basically a glorified junkyard full of home improvement store cast-offs at usually great prices), Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, and the like. I found some ah-mazing deals (like the time we bought out the entire end-of-year clearance aisle at Lowe’s–$7,000 worth of merchandise–for $500, then turned around and sold a few of the items we scored to recoup our money, thus giving us free: lighting, flooring, tile, and more). But it was a lot of hours of hauling two little boys from place to place and doing fun things like schlepping carpet home in the back of my dad’s lurching pick-up truck in torrential rain.

This time, although I’ve done my fair share of store visiting, the vast majority of purchases have been online. And, while I never pay very much for anything–in store or on the internet–a couple of deals have been too killer not to share.

So, I mentioned briefly here that we did eventually make it to Charleston, SC, after our initial attempt was foiled by the hurricane, but I never did blog about it. I meant to. I edited the pictures and everything. But it just didn’t happen (let me know if you’d still like me to or if that ship has sailed).

It’s worth mentioning, though, that I scored this first find while in Charleston, and it made the trip that much sweeter.

1. I’ve loved this Oh Joy Petal Pushers wallpaper in gold for forever, but I’ve never been willing to pay $148 for one roll of wallpaper. Imagine my delight, then, when I stumbled upon one–and only one–roll of it in the clearance section at Anthropologie in Charleston. Even with an extra 40% off promotion, it was going to cost $60, so imagine my even greater delight when I got it to the checkout, and it rang up for…$20 {!!!} I refrained from squealing in the cashier’s face…but only just.

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I think my face says it all.

So, what am I going to do with it? Glad you asked. The plan is to put it behind the vanity wall in the girls’ bathroom, which is peerrrrrfect because I’m shooting for a girly, flowery but still sophisticated vibe in there. Plus! I was waffling back and forth on splurging on a pretty floral tile in that space, since it’s a small amount of square footage, and this little roll of golden goodness totally closed that book for me…and saved me a fair bit of moolah.

2. I’ve also always loved the look of “x-stools” (my name for them). But, at an average of $200 a pop, I’ve never even considered them seriously. Until I stumbled upon this Tally Ottoman in Wayfair’s clearance section (online).

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Cost? $40. (They still have some in stock for $60ish, which is also a good deal). I bought two for the end of the guest bed–the perfect solution, since there won’t be a footboard, and I wanted somewhere for my guests to be able to sling their jackets or sit to put on shoes.

3. I love these long-armed sconces, but they can be surprisingly pricey. Even the meh-reviewed ones from random Chinese stores on Amazon are at least $60.

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It goes without saying, then, that I was pretty thrilled when I scored 3 of the ones above for $24 each–in the online clearance section of All Modern’s website (which is a sister company to Wayfair and Joss and Main and carries many of the same items). They were originally $120! I plan to Rub ‘n Buff them with brass and use them over the kitchen sink, but if that doesn’t work out (the arms might be too long), I have several other places I can use them throughout the house.

4. I stalked these Rowan bar stools from Grandin Road for months, y’all. They were originally $200 but had been marked down to $80 each. Which is already a great price for a sturdy, large, all wood bar stool. But! Each stool came with a $20 shipping surcharge, bumping the price up to $100 per, and we needed several. I just couldn’t quite bring myself to pull that trigger. At least not until Grandin Road (which is also where I bought the lights over my kitchen island) ran a Free Shipping + 25% off special around Black Friday, which waived the surcharge and dropped the price to $60 each SHIPPED (no tax).

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I absolutely love these stools. They are even prettier in person, which we know because we unpacked one to test it out in our current kitchen. They are wide and stable and great for kids (with the high backs and the NON-swiveling aspect…I will never buy another swiveling stool). Sadly, they sold out before I could share them with you, but I managed to snag as many as I needed before they did (or maybe I bought the last ones they had…who knows?), so I was a pretty happy camper.

5. This sink was another one that I had my eye on for a while. It had high reviews for design/appearance but mixed reviews for durability (it tended to chip), so I was a little hesitant. But I wanted it for a laundry room sink (so no pans clunking around in there), and the price–which fluctuates between just under to just over $100–couldn’t be beaten for a white sink with this look, quality, and size (it’s 33″ wide). I finally pulled the trigger, praying that mine would show up without any flaws, and it did! And it’s beautiful!

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My mom was there when it arrived, and she couldn’t believe it wasn’t a $200-$300 sink at least.

6. I included this Anthro rug when I did my master bathroom mock-up a few months back…

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…but I never intended to actually buy it, since it was pretty ridiculously priced. But then, it went on sale with an extra 40% off. And I decided to go for it. It still wasn’t cheap, but I had been finding so many good deals that I decided that I would splurge on this one thing. But you know what? It sold out AS I was checking out. At first, I was bummed. But then, I did a little research and found this beauty from RugsUSA.

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It’s different, obviously, but it has the same vibe, and costs–get this–1/5 of of the price of the other rug. In fact, I scored ALL off the rugs below from RugsUSA on their Black Friday sale and knocked out pretty much all of our remaining rug needs (we’re not doing any carpet) in the new house for LESS than I would have paid for that one Anthro rug!!! Note to self: splurging is almost never worth it.

P.S. While this rug is still a reasonable price, I paid literally half of what they’re currently asking for the 4X6, so I really did score a pretty amazing deal.

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(You can just see the floral one I bought peeking through on the top right there. It’s much prettier in person; and you can see a baby bump peeking in at the bottom of the frame. Not sure it’s any prettier in person, but I’m excited to meet the tiny human that’s causing it).

7. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another “on the ground” purchase that pretty much made my Tuesday last week.


I spotted this 11 and A HALF foot solid wood church pew on a Facebook swap n’ shop and couldn’t believe it hadn’t been snagged already. Because? It was only $100!!! That’s a whole lot of pretty wood for 100 greenbacks. So, I woke Shaun up, told him the happy news, and he basically looked at me like this.bench1

Notice that his expression did not change AFTER we (and by we, I mean he) rearranged all of the seats in the van, and then we loaded all of the kids up and drove 20 minutes in the rain to haul it home.

No, but seriously, he thought it was a pretty cool score too (I think), and, being the stellar husband he is, humored his crazy, pregnant wife with grace and patience.

So, what am I going to do with a giant church pew? Well, optimistically, it will be a bench for a dining room table that Shaun builds, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll definitely find a place for it on our front porch.

Aaaaand…there you have it! 7 of my giddiest deal-scoring moments during this house-building process.

Just in case you’re looking for tips on how to do the same, I think I’ve probably already spilled all of the beans, but:

1) Check local Facebook swap ‘n shops regularly. Way better than Craigslist (or actually leaving your house to go garage-saling) and rife with amazing deals.

2) Shop the online sales weekends. Black Friday was definitely a good one, but most of the stores I mentioned run very similar sales during most other “holiday” weekends.

3) I didn’t mention any specific deals from, but I’ve bought all of our faucets + a lot of our lighting there because–once you start ordering from them, they regularly send you percentage off coupons (at once point, I got a 20% off coupon, which applied to my entire order, so that was pretty sweet). PLUS! If you sign up for Club O Gold ($19.95/year), they give you 5% back (which you can then use on a future purchase). If you’re a casual buyer, it might not be worth it, but if you’re making multiple purchases for a house build or renovation, then the 5% back adds up very quickly…especially considering that their prices on the faucets I bought (brand: Kingston Brass) were almost always the cheapest on the internet (not true of all of their items, but definitely true in this case).

4) Type the word “clearance” into Wayfair or All Modern’s search bar to get a list of awesome (and not-so-awesome) deals. There’s quite a bit of junk, but I’ve scored fans, lighting, and home decor for pennies on the dollar because, when the deals are good, they’re really good!

Or! If you’re looking at a specific item, be sure to check for the small print below the main description that says something like, “Buy clearance items from: $_______.” That link will take you to cheaper versions of the exact same item. It SAYS that they are returned/open box items, but all of mine have been shipped to me undamaged in the original packaging.

If you’re interested in $10 off your order to any of these stores, you can send me your email address (blogabbie{at}gmail{dot}com) and I’ll send you a share code (I get $10 too), but, really, I just wanted to share this find because it’s been a surprisingly helpful one to me and one that I had no clue about before I started all of this research.

So, what about you guys? Any bargains you’ve scored lately that you’d like to brag about? Any brilliant, money-saving tips you have for me? I’d love to hear both!
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The Ultimate Amazon Gift Guide {Christmas 2016}: Under $100

Alrighty, guys!

I’m back for my last installment of this year’s Amazon gift guide. This time, I’ve rounded up a group of items that–hopefully–will at least jog your thoughts for those bigger gifts that you still have to buy. Some are practical. Some are pretty. Some are both.

So, here we go!

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I can’t think of a better gift that you could give anyone than God’s Word. And a great option for long drives or listening at night before bed or…really any other time you can listen but can’t read…is this set of audio cds. I realize that technology has advanced far beyond the common cd, and yet, I still find it most convenient to have a hard copy I can pop into a player (especially in the car). This would be a great gift for someone “old school” like me.


Along the same lines, I mentioned that we were doing the “something you wear/read/want/need” for our kids again this year, and, for the boys, who have oooooodles of hard copy books to read, I’ve opted for audiobooks that we can listen to on our daily trek to and from the gym in the car. We already have the stellar BBC version of entire Chronicles of Narnia series, but I’m really tempted to get this one too, since it’s done slightly differently (the “narrator” is taken out and put down as the actual thoughts of the characters–a liberty which the reviews say actually works well) and includes a different voice for each character (the BBC version is read by one person per book).

I haven’t pulled the trigger on Narnia yet, but I did get this audiobook on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and I’m considering these Father Gilbert Mysteries (although, the fact that the reviews–which are excellent!–warn that some of the material is too serious for younger listeners has me thinking I should wait).

This is another one of those where, if wholesome audiobooks intrigue you but you don’t love the sound of any of these, all you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the listings, and they have several more suggestions by the same company (all are produced by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. All are supposed to be superbly done).


I haven’t included hardly any gifts for men on these lists, but this leather + canvas backpack, which holds a 15″ laptop, would make a great guy gift. Or girl gift. I’d certainly carry it too!


I love essential oils! I’m not really that “oily,” as they say–meaning that I don’t consistently start my day by rubbing specific blends on my body–but I am a believer in their medicinal qualities. I have been known to oil myself or my kids up for everything from colds to rashes to fevers and more. Sadly, my diffuser broke months ago, and I didn’t replace it until recently, but this option is considerably more stylish than the one that I found and would make a great gift for an oil-lover in your life.


I just bought one of these Instax Mini 8 cameras as a gift for the whole family. Not only do I think my kids will have an absolute blast taking pictures of–well, let’s be honest–walls and empty toilet paper rolls, but I have a VERY practical/self-serving use in mind. It’s probably 89% of the reason I bought it. We sponsor several children through various organizations, and I DREAD writing them letters for one simple reason: printing pictures. The letter-writing part is easy! But having to go to a store and print pictures gives me mild hives (yes, I know it’s ridiculous, but it’s also true). And yet, I know that they love receiving those pictures, so I’m over-the-moon excited about the prospect of instantmini snaps we can include in our sponsor letters! Woot!


One thing I hope to do in the new house is have a rolling garment rack in the master closet on which I can set out clothes for the week. I’m hoping it will help me get dressed in “real” clothes every day and utilize my entire wardrobe (or, at least, highlight the items that never get worn, so I can weed them out). We’ll probably make our own DIY pipe version, but if you or someone you know is on the hunt for something similar that’s cute and reasonably priced, then this one should definitely be in the running. It comes in bronze (shown; the other options are cheaper), black, and white.


If you’ve got a lover of nostalgia in your life, I can’t think of a much cuter gift than these Crosley record players. They come in a variety of punchy colors and have generally good reviews (although, they’re not known for amazing speaker quality).


I love these cable knit poufs. I’ve been on the hunt for one for the nursery in the new house for a while, and I think this one just may be what I choose. It comes in TONS of color options, has good reviews (for the most part), and is the best price I’ve found outside of a major sale (Prime shipping too!).


Another fun home trend is these sheepskin rugs. I already got one for the nursery, but it would also work great as a thrown across a chair or in any small space that needs a bit of cozy texture.


Have a basic sewer in your life? I can personally attest to the fact that this is a great, lightweight, cute (!) starter machine. It has fabulous reviews and is really reasonably priced for all of the features that you get. I got the same machine for about $40 less for Della on a Black Friday sale, but it was also refurbished (haven’t had any issues). So far, we’ve only experimented with the most basic of functions, but it’s a great little machine!


I know, I know. A toothbrush? Really, Abbie? But seriously. I got one of these as a gift for Shaun a couple of Christmasses ago, and he LOVES it!


If you read my review of our Amazon Echo, then you already know that I’m a fan. And that hasn’t changed. We use our “Alexa” on a daily basis for entertainment (mostly music + a few games), education, and practical things (like shopping lists, setting timers, and ordering cat food and toothpaste from Amazon). Well, the Echo Dot lets you do all of those same things…but at a much lower price point. As far as I understand, the main difference is in the speaker quality (the full-sized Alexa’s speaker is rather impressive). If that doesn’t bother you, then this miniature version would make a great gift for the multi-tasking techie in your life (or even, as I noted in the review, the non-techie–AKA: me).

And…we’re done!

Hopefully, all three of these guides (or, again, any of the ones in the past, which still have plenty of options that are still available) have been helpful for you. We’ll be back to our regular, non gift-guide program next week, but–in the meantime–happy shopping!

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The Ultimate Amazon Gift Guide {Christmas 2016}–$35 and Under

Welp, it took me longer than I’d hoped, but I’ve managed to round up another fun collection of goodies from Amazon for your perusal.

First up, though, I wanted to point you to something fun that Dayspring is offering this year. It’s called The Shepherd on the Search, and it’s a sweet, Christ-centered alternative to the Elf on the Shelf as you place the shepherd in various places around the house on his quest to find the King. As your children find him each day, you can take a moment to read from the accompanying book and focus on the Advent of the Christ…until finally, your kids find the shepherd in the manger (included) with baby Jesus on Christmas day!

We have one, and–while I must admit that we haven’t started hiding the shepherd because, um, I’m pregnant and forgetful and just late on all things in general these days–my kids ask me about it often, and I plan to start tomorrow (because “better late than never” should probably just be tattooed on my forehead).

And now, without further ado, I give you:

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Okay, so fair warning: this gift guide may be a bit “house product” heavy, since that’s the mode I’m in. But I hope that at least a few of these suggestions will be useful to you or someone you know.


So, I saw this idea on Anthropologie’s site and thought: Wow! Clever! I even screen-shotted it to remember for the new house (see above about pregnancy if you want to know what happens to ideas I don’t document in some manner). Basically, you attach the rods to your kitchen wall–under a cabinet or behind the stove, perhaps, and then you hang things from the s-hooks. Dish towels, coffee mugs, pot lids, cooking utensils. Pretty much anything you can think of. Of course, the Anthro versions were a little prettier than these stainless steel plain Janes, but they also cost 3 times as much, and I am a firm believer in the power of spray paint and Rub n’ Buff (even if you have to do a touch up every now and then).


Along the same lines, I love the idea/look/space-saving potential of this pretty mug rack (actually a bottle-drying rack, but who’s nitpicking?). The white is pretty, but there’s also a black option that’s considerably cheaper.


And again with the clever, home-organization theme. Have you seen these stair baskets? We’re always stacking shoes and other paraphernalia on our stairs that we then haul upstairs. This basket is a stylish, convenient way to corral all of those floating items, which you can then cart to their correct location in one batch. It even has handles! (Of course, it only works if it matches the height of your stair treads).


I think that I linked to headphones veeeerrrry similar to these in another gift guide, but this particular link has 4 different floral design options, and they’re all adorable!


Ditto with this recipe tin. I have definitely linked to this style before. But this particular design is new, a good $8 cheaper than the other options, and comes–as do all–with recipe cards included.

I have one and love it both for functionality and design.


When I did my dining room mock-up for the new house, one of the three options included curtains in this pretty floral fabric. Several of you asked me where it was from, but I didn’t know at the time. Now I do! The company is Greenland (they make tons of pretty textiles!), and this shower curtain is only one of several items you can get in this design (I scored the girls’ bunk bed quilts–for the new house–for an absolute STEAL from a different site in this fabric).

If you love the fabric but aren’t in the hunt for a shower curtain (as a gift, of course #wink), just scroll to the bottom of the listing, and they’ll have all of the other products they make in this design for you to choose from.


I’ve mentioned before that my biggest skin challenge (other than hormonal acne…thanks, Eve) is my dark under-eye circles. Well! This little tube of magic definitely knocks those babies right out. Fair warning: a little goes a LOOOOOOOONG way. Although the price is high for a tiny amount, I fully expect to get at least a year’s use out of my one tube (I’ve already had it for 5 months and barely made a dent) because it takes so little to do the trick (plus, if you use too much, you end up looking cakey, with makeup settling in the, ahem, creases).


If you have a Fixer Upper fan in your life, well, chances are, they’ve already read The Magnolia Story at least three times. But just in case not, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the reviews are pretty much unanimously positive. I guess that’s not too surprising considering the somewhat rabid devoted nature of Chip and Joanna’s followers, but for the comments to consistently be that the book is down-to-earth, funny, and inspiring–as well as well-written–definitely piqued my interest. I think I’ll be snagging this one with an Audible credit (Chip and Joanna are the narrators too…because, clearly, they never sleep).


I feel like this is something Joanna, herself, would wear–except with #shiplap across the front, of course. Cute trucker’s hats are such a fun way to hide dirty hair, and this particular design comes in at least 4 different colors.


Okay, so $25 for a coin purse–even a name brand leather one–isn’t that great of a steal. But! If you follow that link, at least one of the color options is only $14.99, with Prime shipping, which is a pretty great deal for a useful little gift with a recognizable name.


So, I hear about Turkish towels all the time, but I’ve never actually used them. Everyone seems to agree on their cuteness factor, but it seems that the actual functionality can vary widely. These are pretty and–according to the reviews–absorbent and useful too! I’ll be ordering a set for our downstairs bathrooms for sure!

Also, these would make a great stocking stuff or add-on gift if you split up the 8 towels among girlfriends.


Oy, with the house stuff, already, Abbie! But seriously. I ordered this one on the spot. It’s such a pretty/handy way of gathering so many useful sink items in one place. And! It helps with counter clutter (my nemesis).


I’m assuming that every mama of long-haired little girls has already discovered this gem, but just in case not (or if you have a friend/sister/aunt/cousin who laments her inability to deal with tangles), this brush will be your best friend. It’s not magic, but it does help a whole, whole lot with the rather tedious task of unraveling long, tangle-prone hair.


So, this hoodie hails from China, and, therefore, runs quite small (according to the reviews), so if you get it for yourself or someone else, be sure to size up. But it has a) cute patterns, b) a hood (my fave!), c) thumb holes, and d) a cute zipper detail at the neck. For a reasonable price (with Prime shipping).  I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but I’m tempted!


Another hot home trend? Bread/cutting boards–especially the ones with handles! I’m a cutting board (for function) devotee myself, so I get the practical side, but I can’t deny that the handles definitely up the design factor. These two have great reviews and Prime shipping! Perfect for the function and form lover.


These tea towels are just the cutest and considerably cheaper as a two pack (with Prime!) than most of this artist’s other listings!


I mentioned in the under $15 gift guide that I have always had a thing for pom poms. Including in blanket form. This one has great reviews at a good price, looks super soft and cozy, and comes in a variety of colors.


I think I already included this marble rolling pin on a former gift guide, but I own one now (and bought one as a gift), and I have to say that, it’s even prettier/more solid/impressive in person. I don’t know HOW they’re selling a solidly constructed, marble rolling pin for this price, but it’s definitely the kind of kitchen tool you can proudly leave out on the counters.


Could I really write a gift guide without including a cute set of measuring cups? I think not. This birdie design does the trick!


I mentioned this book in the under $15 guide as well, but I really can’t say enough about how adorable the illustrations are and how much fun it is to read through all of the state’s random facts.

Last year, we used the “something to wear, something to read, something you want, something you need” model for our kids for Christmas (we will this year too), and I purposefully bought pretty, well-reviewed, interesting books for our kids that look great on shelves and are just as engaging when you open them up.

Even if you’re not interested in the 50 States book, you should definitely scroll down to the bottom of the listing for lots more similarly stylish/good options. That’s how I found a lot of the ones I bought.

Speaking of which…

The Wonder Garden is a GORGEOUS educational book. The illustrations are mesmerizing, and–while I don’t love its evolutionary slant–the animal facts included are just as engaging.

Again, if you like the look of this one, scroll down, and Amazon will give you lots of similar suggestions.


And what would a Christmas gift guide be without a good set of slippers? These are well-reviewed and have several options that are well below the listed $35 price tag.


Have a craft-lover in your life? Or maybe you just want your Christmas packages to be extra cute this year? This 12 count washi tape bundle would be a great solution for both!


I love the pastel colors and funky diamond-angled designs of these coffee cups. Again, a great way to buy in bulk and then split up for gifts for your Bible study girls or whatnot.


This is another design from Greenland (told you they make cute ones!). One of the rooms in the new house is designated as “the toddler room” (at least for now), and I’ve been struggling with a design that’s fairly gender-neutral while still all-around cheerful and kid-friendly. I think this whimsical/colorful feather print a white background might be just the thing.


I love these delicate post earrings. I’m a fan of costume jewelry, but–on the opposite end of the spectrum–I skew towards minimalist, dainty designs. And Honeycat (the brand that makes these earrings) makes lots of pretty options that fit that bill exactly, so if these earrings aren’t your thing, but simple jewelry is, be sure to browse their selection.

Phew! Well, there you go!

25 options under $35 for the home/makeup/craft/book/fashion/organizational-lover in your life.

Stay tuned for one more guide this week (Lord willing).

P.S. I added a few items–including a very funny coffee cup–to the Under $15 guide.


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The Ultimate Amazon Gift Guide {Christmas 2016} – $15 and Under

After Black Friday + Cyber Monday week, I’m beginning to feel like the Queen of the Internet. Between packaging and shipping Paint and Prose orders (y’all kept us hopping! Thank you!), I’ve spent most evenings with one eye on the Gilmore Girls “Year in the Life” special (my reaction? Mostly “meh”) and the other on my computer screen as I hunted down thee absolute best deals on the last few lights/sinks/faucets/etc. we need for the new house. It’s definitely paid off (I scored the turquoise lights I posted about last week for over the kitchen island for an awesome price with an extra Black Friday discount!).

A friend of mine asked me and Shaun if we would miss all of this planning/building when it’s over, and we just looked at each other and laughed. So, yeah. The answer is no. We both love a good project, and this house is a good one. But neither one of us will be sad when all of these lights I’ve found are hung instead of sitting around the workshop creating a death trap for anyone who dares venture in in search of a screwdriver.

ANYway, all that to say that, in the midst of all of this house research, I manage to squeeze in a bit of Amazon recon too. And, just like I’ve done for the last–3??–years, I’m sharing my finds with y’all!

We’ll start with our first–and most affordable–installment: the $15 and under crowd.

This “category” is so exhaustive that I feel like I could have included about 50 other items, but just remember that, if you don’t see something you love here, you can always go back and browse my guides (I’ve even got one specifically for men!) from the past few years. Quite a few items are still available and for the same or similar prices.

And so, without further ado, in no particular order, I give you:



If you’ve got any pillows lying around that you’re considering donating to Goodwill, you should definitely take a gander at Amazon’s (extensive) pillow cover offerings before you load them up. Most of the covers are extremely reasonable ($3-$7) and cute as can be. (See “bike” exhibit above and “compass” exhibit below)


These monogram mugs are pretty and really well-reviewed. They look like Anthro but come shipped to your door for FREE (the notes say they’ll arrive before Christmas, and Amazon is usually pretty true to its word).


I’m all about dainty, gold, intial jewelry. It’s personal and pretty. I’ve had my “M is for Mama” initial necklace for years, but I’ve never had a bracelet to match. It would be hard to find a cuter or more affordable option.


As usual, I’m including something from Rifle Paper Co. because…how could I not? Her stuff is just so stinkin’ pretty, and these floral, stitched notebooks are no exception. They would make great stocking stuffers or fillers for teacher gifts if you split up the three-pack.


Oh, and speaking of pretty florals and writing, these pencil pouches are adorable, and at 5 for 6.99 + Prime shipping, you really couldn’t find a better deal on a cute, functional add-on gift.


Got a lover of organization in your life? This desk caddy–which looks way cuter in its TEAL option–gets good reviews.


I snapped this one up as soon as I spotted it. I haven’t gotten it yet, but it has great reviews, Prime shipping, and a (hopefully) flattering cut. Plus, I like the simplicity of the black/white + scrolly font.


I bought The 50 States book for my kids last year, and it’s a super fun (and adorably illustrated) way to learn some interesting trivia about–well–America’s 50 states. And this accompanying activity book looks like a great way to engage your kids in a playful learning experience. Bonus: because the illustrations are so bright and colorful, it’s makes a great coffee table/decorative shelf book too!


I don’t usually include a lot of children’s items, but this one is a game-changer, y’all. I know it looks like your everyday, average baby toy, but–and this is important–it super portable and has SUCTION CUPS! At lunch at Chick-fil-a with a friend one day, Theo started getting restless in his high chair, but he was still too little to be let loose in the zoo play area. My friend whipped this little wonder out of her bag, plunked it down on the table (the handy suction cups keep it in place), and Theo proceeded to happily fiddle with it for the next 20 minutes. Sheer genius! I’ve already given this as a baby gift and will do so again and again.


I ordered this one too! Haven’t gotten it yet, but it’s the top-rated/selling mask on Amazon and at 8.8 oz for less than $15, the price can’t be beaten! I’m interested to see if it helps my dry, winter skin.


Amazon always has a strong scarf game, and this blanket scarf (above) and floral one (below) are just a couple that caught my eye from the myriad of super-affordable, pretty options I scrolled through.


Got some hot drink lovers in your life? These canisters are precious and cheap! (Granted, they’re not large, but they would make a fun addition to a shelf or countertop).


Speaking of cute decor, this wire basket + bottle combo is adorable, handy, and decently-sized (12″ long). I love multifunction serving pieces, and this would work great for holding paper straws on a party table, flowers at the dinner table, or even silverware!


I’m a total iPhone rebel, and it’s not that easy to find great phone cases for my Galaxy S5. This one, though, is both sturdy AND pretty. And with a major Rifle Paper Co. vibe at only $9 (with PRIME), the price is insanely good.

Here’s your option if you are an iPhone devotee.

(If neither one of these fits your phone size, just search for the same terms plus your model, and it should pop up).


I try to include a polish pack with each gift guide because they’re such a cheap but still thoughtful way to finish out a gift. I love the teal + pink + berry combo here.


This wallet is designed SPECIFICALLY with the idea of allowing you to zip your smartphone inside the center compartment. I love being able to snag my wallet from my purse and have everything I need contained in one place without hauling the entire bag inside. (The floral design is, by far, my favorite, but if it’s not your jam, there are about 10 other options).


I realize this one is a bit of an outlier, but if you’ve got a DIY/decor lover on your list, you might consider this fun tassel project for her. The tassels have to be assembled, but would make great party or kid/craft room/closet decor once you’re done!


I love pom poms. I always have. So, I’m glad they’re actually in style now. This pom pom hat has great reviews for style and functionality and comes in a SLEW of great colors!


Another one for the littles (although I wish they made them in my size because the patterns are great!). This is an 8 PACK for $13 and Prime shipping. And they’re so stinkin’ cute that I almost wish Baby #7 were a girl just so I could buy one of these for myself. I guess I’ll settle for getting them for my cutie-pie 1-year-old niece instead.


People rave about these Capri candles, and while I’ve never owned one, I get the hype because whenever I’m at a friend’s house who has one, they are just the yummiest smelling things! This is one is a little under $15 (it’s a smaller size), ships free with Prime, and comes in 5 different “flavors.”

Aaaaaand there you have it! 20 great options for your loved ones (or, ahem, you). Stay tuned for the next installment ($30 and under) on Monday!

Disclosure: all of these are Amazon associate links, which means that, if you purchase, I’ll receive a small percentage, without its changing the price for you. So, we both win!

BONUS (I found some more!):

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Cyber Monday Paint and Prose Sale!

Happy Cyber Monday! AKA: the day my children asked me if we really had to do school (hashtag duh, kids).

In honor of this completely made up “holiday,” (and because we like you) Paint and Prose is offering our BEST sale of the year!

Use the code: FIFTYOFF for–you guessed it!–50% off your entire order (of $15 or more).

Good through tonight at 11:59 PM (CST)

We don’t offer a bigger discount than this (because the next stop is pretty much free!), so if there’s something you’ve had your eye on for you or a great, personal Christmas gift, now’s your chance!

Oh, and just for grins and giggles–and because it totally blew my socks off when I took inventory–I thought it would be fun to give you an overview of EVERY SINGLE LAST Paint and Prose print that Lindsay and I have created over the past year plus.

I know some of you are daily readers. Other are browsers. Some of you just check in every couple of months. All great! But I am the actual co-creator of these prints, and even I was surprised to discover just how many we’ve cranked out!

So, without further ado, I give you: the entire Paint and Prose oeuvre.

Pssst: click the category link of each of these to be taken to the collections featured in the pictures. 













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Antique. Turquoise. Pendant. Lights

Edit: A sweet reader found the lights I talk about below for cheaper. YAY!

So, was my punctuation/capitalization dramatic enough to catch your attention?

Hope so.

Because I think I may have solved my kitchen lighting quandary.


turquoise light2I mean, hello. They’re turquoise. Or–more appropriately in my mind–aged teal. (Because the fact of the matter is that, as much as I love all shades of blue-green, true, glaring turquoise is my least favorite).

I stumbled across these on a random Pinterest jaunt after a very (verrrry) long day of cleaning and organizing at the new house on Saturday.

And I must admit that I sat up a little straighter.

Now, here’s the thing: they’re not exorbitantly expensive, but they are more than I’d like to pay for a light for which I need more than one (possibly three). The best price I’ve found so far is: $178 (shipped).

They’re quite a bit narrower (though somewhat taller) than the gargantuan light that we originally had planned for over the island but still have the industrial elements I love, with the extra bonus of a fun–but not too loud–color. My signature color at that! (Yes, that was a shameless Steel Magnolias reference).

At 13″ wide, I think we could definitely (easily) fit 3 over our 12 foot island.


I’d love to get away with just 2 to cut down on costs.

Of course, we’ll measure and approximate as best we can, but I was kind of pleased to discover this shot on the same Pinterest jaunt:

turquoise lights kitchen


Those aren’t the same lights, but they do bear a striking resemblance. And if my powers of estimation are even mildly accurate (I’d like to think they’re at least average if the amount of times I’ve opened the back of my van and said: “Yup, it’ll fit,” in the face of very dubious men loading furniture…and been right…is any indication), then that’s about a 12 foot island, and those pendants are probably about a foot wide each.

So…what do you think of my discovery?

Better than the other options?

Could I “make do” with just two? (Yes, I could. I know I could. Just trying to get some feedback here).



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Shedding Some Light on the New Kitchen {Help!}

I’ve mentioned several times that my favorite part of this whole building process is when we land on a decision and can just move onto the next.

Which…is what I thought we’d done when we chose this pendant light for our kitchen island.

mercana light

I loved the brass finish and the industrial details. Sadly, they only had one left in stock at the super-sale price I’d found, but we went ahead and ordered it.

When it arrived, I liked it even better in person than online. Except. It was big. Like really, really big.

I knew this. I had paid close attention to the measurements, gotten out a tape measure, mocked it up…the works.

What I wasn’t able to anticipate was just how hefty the cage grill and industrial-style connection on top of the light would be.



I honestly don’t think this picture does the light justice either in how pretty it is or just how massive it is.

In any case, both Shaun and I were thrown for a loop because we both agreed that–although we like industrial–this one might be a bit much. Of course, we were also grateful that only one had been in stock because, if we’d gotten three of these suckers, they would have completely overpowered the rest of the kitchen. 

Which brings me right back around to trying to figure out which lights to put over the kitchen island. I’m not quite back at square one, since I know for sure what I don’t want, but I am a bit torn between several good options, and I’d love your input.

Okay, so first of all, we have the replacement industrial option: the Dawson pendant light, which is also probably my first preference. I think. Hm. #indecisivemuch

industrial lightI love the pop of brass at the top (I’ll have brass hardware on the cabinets), and I love the weathered look and the cage grill that adds interest without being over-the-top.

industrial light inspo1

This kitchen isn’t so very similar to how ours will be, but the color of the island is almost identical to what I’m leaning toward for our lowers (we’ll have white uppers), and at the very least, the industrial pendants give a similar feel to the one above (plus our island will be about the same wood tones as that pedestal table in the foreground, so the overall color scheme is at least comparable).

I’ve shared Jess’s lovely kitchen before, but one of my favorite things about it is how she manages to marry several different lighting styles in one space.

industrial light inspo2

Crystal chandies + industrial bowls + traditional chandelier. Yup. I like it.

Now, my style won’t be nearly this romantic (I lean toward cleaner lines, but I have zero complaints about what she’s done; it’s gorgeous).

Of course, this “Ursula” pendant could be fun too. It’s an ah-mazing price compared to how much it costs everywhere else.

ursula pendant

industrial light inspo

Again, this kitchen isn’t quite what we’re going for, but it has the same style lights in shiny chrome, and I do like the way they look over the stained island. I’m not entirely sure that the white of the ones I’m considering–even with the aged brass metal finish–won’t be a bit too sleek for what I’m shooting for. I know. Picky. But they’re fun just the same.

If I don’t go industrial, I’m tempted to go with something simpler that you can see through. Like this globe + brass option.

globe light

I love how globes pendants look in this Fixer Upper kitchen, which IS very similar to both the layout  and color scheme of our (future) kitchen. The option from above isn’t as big as these are, but with three of them, I think we’d still be okay.

globe light inspo

I guess the wild card would be this 3 light option. We could hang two side-by-side and get a WHOLE lot of light for $140 (they’re only $70 each!!)

three light

I guess I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m really into the aged brass look, so, if I went with these guys, I’d Rub ‘n Buff them for sure.

And by now, I think y’all know the drill.

Which one do YOU think I should go with?

Just as a point of reference, here are a few more of my favorite kitchens I’ve pinned that will have a similar feel to the look we’re going for.

Similar elements include: white subway tile, beams, teal + white cabinets, industrial + rustic touches, and aged brass.

kitchen inspo5

Tkitchen inspo kitchen inspo1 kitchen inspo2 kitchen inspo3 kitchen inspo4


That last one is waaaaay more French country kitchen than I will actually go, but it’s still pretty darn gorgeous.

P.S. All image sources can be found on my “Farmhouse Kitchens” board on Pinterest.

So, what do you think? Any options I haven’t considered that I should? You know I’m always game!


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A Week in the Life…

Well, hi there, guys!

This past week has been a wild ride. I fully intended to blog about many things, but–given the ridiculousness that was my schedule last week–I should haven’t intended any such thing. Because it was never going to happen.

So! Why so ridiculous, this week of mine?

Well, my sister-in-law, Hannah, has been hard at work creating THEE most adorable stick-horses you ever did see (plus lots of other handmade children’s goodies), and she and I thought it would be fun to partner up on a couple of Christmas events (her with her handmade items, and me with Paint and Prose).

crazy week2

(See what I mean about the stick horse adorableness? Hannah made two of these for my twins for their birthday, and they LOVE them. And I bought two from her for a double birthday party I mention below, and they were the one thing that both kids played with immediately out of a plethora of brightly colored, exciting toys. If you need one of these in your life–c’mon, you know you do–email me at blogabbie{at}gmail{dot}com, and I’ll get you connected with Hannah).

Well, turns out, two of those events (one of which was a 2 day affair) ended up being on the same week. Turns out again that Lindsay and I had agreed ages ago to be part of an event (that I’d completely forgotten about) at Moss, a local fair-trade flower shop (pretty much the cutest little flower shop), and–guess what!–it was the evening of one of the events that I’d already committed to. (hashtag yay)

And double guess what! Shaun (who always helps out with printing and organizing for said events when they come up) ended up having a work trip scheduled starting last Tuesday.


It was a doozy of a week, y’all. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. My saintly mama, who had already volunteered to keep both Hannah’s and my kids during all of this, got more than she bargained for once the “extra event” rolled in plus Shaun ended up being out of town.

She handled it like a champ, but I’m pretty sure I owe her a vacation on a deserted island.

Basically, my side of things looked like lots of late nights prepping things for various booths and early mornings hauling them to various locations various distances from my house, setting up, working the booths, breaking down, and then doing it again the next day.

Oh! And there was that one time I thought I had the rug for our booth I’d promised at our house only to discover that–nope!–I’d already taken it out to the new property.

Of course, I discovered this only 10 minutes before I needed to jump in the car and haul all remaining stuff to our booth for setup, and OF COURSE, when I got to the property, the gate was locked (duh, Abbie). So, I proceeded to RUN (or hobble awkwardly, as that is the closest a 33-week-pregnant woman gets to running) in heeled boots, no less, down our forever-long driveway and then haul a 35 pound rug back down it to the van. And did I mention that I climbed a fence? Twice.

And the whole time, all I could do was chuckle (and sweat) and think: “If someone videos this, I’m not sure if I should thank him for the laughs or kill him on the spot.”

The cherry on top of the crazy was that my husband told me later that day on the phone as I was giving him quite the visual of my trek down the driveway that the gate wasn’t actually locked that day. It just looked like it was. #thanksalotbabe

The true cherry on top of the cherry, though?

As Lindsay and I were busily working the table at the Moss (flower shop) event, I heard a voice I would know anywhere behind me, but my brain simply could not register what my heart had already recognized until I turned around and saw my husband standing there behind me, flowers in hand, home from his work trip, in the flesh, a full 24 hours earlier than I had expected to see him.

crazy week7

(He had finished his work more quickly than expected and bent over backwards to get himself an earlier flight).


I pretty much shrieked and threw myself at him. And then I cried against his neck. #darnpregnanthormones. I don’t think I had any idea how tenuously I was keeping it together until that instant when it felt safe not to have to.

The poor customer behind me was just kind of staring at the hysterical pregnant lady, but Lindsay–with whom Shaun had conspired to keep me from eating any real food until he got there (even though I kept saying how hungry I was)–was grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

crazy week8


{See? I, by contrast, look half-asleep}

Honestly, it was one of the best moments of my entire life. That may sound silly. But to realize how well my husband and best friend (who had been bringing me apples and little bites of this and that to hold me over just so Shaun could take me to dinner) loved me in that moment was very sweet indeed.

Lindsay shooed us off, and Shaun whisked me off for a date. And it was a very good date.

The next day was the Heritage Syrup Festival in Henderson (my hometown), but–if I’m completely honest–it was a complete bust (as far as sales for Paint and Prose). Completely wrong demographic + a bit of an awkward booth location.

The upside was that the slow booth traffic allowed me to walk around for several hours with my parents and the kids–whom I was missing like crazy–taking them to the bouncy houses and the petting zoo and buying them overpriced fair food.

crazy week1

(Theo was festivaled out, apparently)

crazy week

(What is on Della’s face? A wolf? A warthog? A horse? For $2, animal accuracy was clearly not required)

Sunday was another packed day with church plus a birthday party in the afternoon and then prep for homeschool co-op today, but having Shaun back in the mix definitely felt like a great big, “Aaaaah” of relief.

crazy week4

Our neighbors throw thee best parties, complete with bouncy houses and yummy food. Plus, their property is just dreamy.

crazy week5

See what I mean?

I actually got out there and played soccer for 15 minutes–a foolish decision for which I was rewarded with a pulled tendon and some rather impressive Braxton Hicks contractions. But it was tooootttally worth it!

crazy week6

(Theo was super sad to have Daddy home, obviously)

The thing is, as much as I would not have planned last week’s schedule like it ended up if I had known/realized all of the individual moving parts ahead of time, I am challenged by what our pastor said yesterday morning: “What if, every time you were tempted to complain, someone jumped up and said, ‘Wait! First think of 5 things you’re grateful for!’”

And I thought: “Whoa. So simple but so good.”

Of course, way more than 5 things immediately popped to mind, but the most obvious five are definitely: my husband, my mom (and dad who helped a lot too), my children, my freedom, and my Jesus.

When I view a long (not bad, but definitely long) week through the lens of gratitude, it sure does take on a different shine.

So, now you know what I did last week. What about you guys? What have y’all been up to?Any gratitude lists you want to share?

P.S. Thanks so much for those who took the time to email me about my election post–whether or not we agreed. I appreciate you.

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The Anti-Vote

I’m about to break every cardinal rule of “lifestyle blogging” (I don’t consider myself a lifestyle blogger, so that’s okay) today and talk about politics, so gird your loins, y’all. (I’ve been girding mine with prayer and thought for months, so I’m right there with you).

Months ago, when it became apparent that our choices for the presidency were very likely going to be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the collective cry of despair across our country was almost comical (only not). People on both sides of the political divide were flabbergasted that, out of all of possible options in America, we were left with these two.

In fact, in a quick tumble down an Instagram rabbit hole one day, I happened upon a girl with obviously liberal/feminist leanings (obvious because she declared them, not because I’m inferring them) who still posted a rather amusing meme that went a little something like:

“Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are stranded on a deserted island.

Who survives?

America. American survives.”

I was surprised by her objections to Hillary, considering the rather popular #imwithher feminist mantra of those who are excited for a first woman president, seemingly regardless of her policies or morals. Because one has only to pay even the slightest amount of attention to the FBI’s current investigation–mere days before the election–into the illegal emails and Clinton Foundation political misconduct (more here, here) to deduce that Hillary Clinton is not concerned with: a) our national security or b) any basic standards for right and wrong in politics .

Of course, then there’s Trump. He’s obnoxious. And immoral. And did I mention he’s obnoxious? He’s not a poster child for anything I want to vote for–at least not as a human being. 

But vote for him I shall.

And here’s why: when a Facebook friend posted on social media last spring that he wished there were such a thing as an “anti-vote”–a way to vote against, rather than for, a candidate, I thought: “There IS. It’s called the other candidate.”

I mean, I get his point. If he votes for Trump when he doesn’t actually like Trump, doesn’t that mean that he supports Trump? I say no. Not inherently. It can simply mean that he doesn’t want what the other candidate has to offer. Voila. An anti-vote.

So, why not just choose a third party candidate altogether?

Because this is a crucial election in our nation’s political history–a hinging point, if you will, on which many civil liberties–Christian or otherwise–will turn.

None of the independent candidates can win, which means that a vote for any of them only weakens the chances of one of the primary candidates without changing the fact that one of them will still emerge the victor.

I’ve never made any bones about the fact that I am a conservative, Bible-believing Christian. In case you missed it, I spelled out my thoughts on the Bible and why it determines my worldview pretty clearly in this post.

I believe in the sanctity of human life (and am therefore opposed to abortion even at the chemical birth control level) and the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman (as outlined in Scripture and God’s original design for us in creation). I’m a supporter of Israel, an advocate for the poor, the widowed, and persecuted Christian believers around the world, and a proponent for religious free speech–even if it doesn’t align with the popular culture.

So, why in the world would I vote for a man who certainly appears not to be a Bible-believing Christian? Who, in fact, appears, in many of his public dealings, to be an egotistical blowhard?

Because, somewhat miraculously, regardless of his moral failings, he is still choosing to align himself with people who are moral, godly, and politically conservative, and when I vote for Trump, I am also voting for them.

If I had my druthers, I’d have voted for Ben Carson. Obviously, I didn’t get that option, but under Trump, Carson is likely to be appointed a to significant political position…which is the next best thing. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, is an admirable, well-spoken Christian man. Rudy Giuliani (possible future Attorney General) is solidly conservative and level-headed (just look at what he accomplished during 911 and then afterwards for the city of New York’s crime rates…which have skyrocketed since he left office).

And then there’s Trump’s list of potential appointees for the Supreme Court (because more than one Supreme Court position is likely to become available during this presidential term, and–as I’m sure you well know–those seats are for life). All of his candidates are solid politically (by my conservative definition :) ). You can listen to a podcast outlining who these potential candidates are and the kinds of issues they could be deciding, if you’re so inclined, or read a concise analysis from an evangelical political insider on how government appointments affect laws here.

And when crucial issues are at stake—such as 1) the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade at a national level 2) a possible return to legalization for partial birth abortions (which Clinton supports), 3) the protection of civil liberties such as a church’s (which is a private institution, not sanctioned or financially supplied by any government) ability to choose what is said from the pulpit (without fear of its being labeled “hate speech” and resulting in loss of jobs, fines, or worse) and who uses which bathroom, 4) an individual’s or organization’s right to NOT pay for someone else’s abortion as part of their mandatory healthcare, and 5) a family’s freedom to home school their children (to name just a few of the issues that really are up for grabs), I will vote for the candidate who has aligned himself with those who support the right (again, according to a conservative Biblical standpoint; I’m making no claims otherwise).

If you think I’m exaggerating about the drastic nature of the hinge on which this election swings, just click on any of the links I included above or do a little digging of your own (this is a great archive of articles on issues just like these if you’re interested), and I think you’ll see that this country could be a frighteningly less free place to be, live, and worship in four years (or less).

Not to mention that, when the limited civil liberties of so many who are already oppressed throughout the world lean so heavily on those of our own currently (largely) free country, that’s no small political responsibility to bear.

But, Abbie. Aren’t you simply arguing for moral pragmatism? How can you live with yourself–especially in the light of Trump’s comments about women and your love for your daughters–if you vote for such a man?

Here’s the thing: I don’t like Trump personally.

But I don’t particularly like Artexerxes, Samson, Jonah, or Darius (to name a few) either.


All of those are men in the Bible whom God used in very practical ways to accomplish his purposes. And yet, none of them were particularly likable or admirable. Some of them were completely morally bereft (Artexerxes was willing to commit genocide at the mere whim of a henchman).

God is able to use all sorts of people–even the obnoxious and unsavory types–to work his will.

In fact, he sometimes calls upon godly people to ally themselves with said unsavory types, even when it flies in the face of their moral convictions.

Can you imagine how Daniel felt associating himself politically in an advisory position to a man like King Darius of Persia? The man was a true egotistical blowhard–to the point that, when his advisors came to him and stroked his ego, he passed a law that banned praying or bowing down to anyone but himeven though he knew that his favorite counselor (Daniel) prayed to no other God but the God of Israel daily.

Or what about Esther? She wasn’t asked to vote for a misogynistic braggart (King Artexerxes, who immediately started shopping for a younger, prettier model when his current wife didn’t obey him at the snap of his fingers). She was asked to marry him. She–a pure, undefiled young Hebrew girl–who  could literally have been stoned for sleeping with any man before marriage–much less a pagan king–willingly obeyed her cousin’s request that she join the king’s harem in hopes of winning his favor and becoming his queen because she shared Mordecai’s conviction that the Lord had called her to this moment. Regardless of how unconventional and distasteful that calling seemed.

Of course, if you’ve read Esther, then you know the end to that story: the Lord used Esther’s unusual obedience, beauty, bravery, humility, and wits to literally save her race from annihilation. Could he have done it differently? Sure. Mordecai even told Esther that, if she didn’t step up to the plate, God would choose someone else.

I believe with every fiber of my being in God’s sovereignty. I fully understand that, regardless of who wins this election, the Creator of the Universe is still firmly on his throne.

I would simply argue that–according to the Bible–he can still use imperfect people like you and me (and, yes, even Donald Trump) to accomplish his will.

By the way, I’m not the only one who believes this. Lots of smarter, better-informed, more politically-savvy Christian conservative people than I are also voting for Trump–not because they’re enamored with his character–but because they believe that he is the unlikely best candidate (because of the people and policies that come with him).  (This sermon by Denton Bible Church pastor, Tommy Nelson, entitled “The Continental Divide” is excellent).

I am under no grand delusions that I will change anyone’s mind with any of these thoughts. I simply felt compelled to put them out there for consideration.

To that end, I am turning off comments on this post (the only time I have ever done this). I know that this election is emotionally charged for many, and I would like to avoid any unnecessary fights (not to mention the random internet trolls who get their kicks on forums like this) in the comments section. If you feel compelled to express an opinion to me personally, feel free to use the button on the sidebar to email me. I can’t guarantee I’ll respond. But I just wanted you to know you have that option.

The last thing that I would say and encourage is prayer. I have been praying for this election daily (multiple times a day) for months (as, I’m sure, have many of you), and I will continue to do so throughout this weekend and beyond–for the Lord’s will, for wisdom in how to act, react, and for the salvation of both candidates.

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